NCEI | Northwest Colorado Energy Initiative

Collaborative Efforts to Secure NW Colorado’s Energy Future


The Northwest Colorado Energy Initiative (NCEI) operates under the purview of AGNC and Executive Director, Tiffany DickensonThe advisory board members are former state House Majority Leader and former CMU President Tim Foster, former state Sen. Bob Rankin, Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis, Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson, Rio Blanco County Commissioner Doug Overton and former Moffatt County Commissioner Ray Beck.  Former Eagle Town Council member Matt Solomon is the project manager. 

The Northwest Colorado Energy Initiative, or NCEI, is a collective response to a pivotal moment in Northwest Colorado’s history. Our mission is clear: to secure a replacement for coal that upholds our standard of living by ensuring energy affordability, job retention and competitive wages.

Colorado’s HB23-1247 legislates an “all of the above” approach, emphasizing a full spectrum of choices to be considered in the state’s feasibility study. This includes gas generation with carbon capture and storage, advanced nuclear, wind and solar coupled with storage, geothermal and clean hydrogen.

As members of NCEI, we are actively preparing for Colorado’s energy feasibility study mandated by House Bill 23-1247. The NCEI budget, allocated for surveys and public outreach, focuses on educating communities, dispelling myths, building trust and listening to concerns of these communities. With a strong emphasis placed on community involvement, NCEI wants our communities to be fully engaged as we embrace the facts of each potential solution.

This investment is crucial for a successful, community-supported shift in this transition. The goal is to build community trust — trust in the process, the technology and the future.

While the “all of the above” mantra seems inclusive, not every option will address the challenges we face.

For example, solar and wind are renewables with a seemingly smaller carbon footprint than coal; however, they will not replace the lost jobs, nor will they provide the megawatts of power that coal provides. Advanced nuclear will replace all the jobs and provide the missing megawatts; however, it takes time to ramp up. Geothermal can ramp up very quickly, but has a limited maximum output.

As a region, we absolutely should consider “all of the above” options for addressing the energy crisis in Northwest Colorado. However, our communities need to pursue “best of the above” solutions when it comes to implementation.

View the full guest column in Steamboat’s Pilot & Today.


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